Whoever you are and whatever your age, a cardiovascular exercise will produce beneficial effects for your health and your fitness.
Here’s all you need to know about cardiovascular exercise.
Cardiovascular Exercise / Cardio Workout
Cardiovascular exercise or cardio workout, that is those that most stimulate our cardiovascular system, consist of any form of exercise that moderately raises the heart rate and keeps it high for a longer period of time.
Unlike what happens with anaerobic exercise, the energy expenditure produced by cardio exercise comes from the sugars present in our body, rather than from fat.
A well-structured workout is a key component of any type and cardiovascular exercise program.
There are numerous forms of cardio exercise and each of them gives us its unique advantages.
In this article we will try to give a brief overview of the various types of cardio exercise, to try to understand the benefits and characteristics of each one, but, above all, to understand what it could do for each of us.
The beneficial effects of cardiovascular exercise
The heart is a muscle and like your other muscles it needs to be trained regularly to maintain a good shape.
If you are trying to improve the health of your heart, cardiovascular exercise will help you.
When doing cardiovascular exercise, the (muscle) heart starts to contract and then relaxes at a speed greater than its normal speed. Cardio exercise by doing so …
- Induces changes in the structure of the heart by altering the contractile properties of myocardial cells and the excitation of the latter,
- Changes the force-length relationship of the contractile component of the heart.
- Increases the volume of blood expelled at each heartbeat, which translates into greater oxygen consumption and, consequently, even higher physical performance.
Finally, a cardio workout increases the extraction capacity of oxygen from the circulating blood.
A well-trained heart, resulting in a decrease in heart rate even at rest is also less fatigue in the performance of daily activities: you will notice it over time.
Runners and swimmers and high level athletes, for example, have resting heart rates in the order of 40 beats per minute, compared to 60-70 beats per minute for a healthy but untrained person.
By improving its effectiveness, with each contraction of the heart it also improves its ability to absorb more blood.
One of the main beneficial effects of cardiovascular exercise that most people know is that it helps them lose weight.
If you are trying to lose or maintain your body weight, a cardiovascular workout can help you.
Since body weight is determined (ultimately) by the number of calories consumed compared to the number of calories that are consumed daily, cardiovascular exercise increases the number of calories you consume, thus helping to shift the needle of your balance to a little more on the left, downwards.
Obviously a cardio workout should never be an excuse to overeat or to eat badly.
Cardio exercise generates a high release of endorphins in the body; substances that put us in a state of greater calm and without stress.
In addition to this, cardio exercise can also be a “pretext” for leaving home, thus helping the mind to leave behind the problems that beset it, at least for a few hours.
Improve Blood Circulation
While exercise, our body moves blood at an accelerated rate, to and from the muscles.
Also the blood volume undergoes an increase (due to an increase in albumin): this volume returns to the pre-exercise value within a week of the last exercise.
The increase in the volume of the plasma decreases the viscosity of the blood allowing it to penetrate more effectively into the tissues and to diffuse a greater quantity of oxygen.
Reduce Daily Fatigue
As your body gets used to managing a higher level of physical activity, you will find that you will tire much less of doing those activities you do regularly throughout the day.
It must therefore be concluded that cardio exercise leads to a significant reduction in daily fatigue.
The different types of cardiovascular exercise
Now let’s briefly examine the different types of cardio exercise that can be done.
Cardio exercise with a moderate / stationary rhythm (Steady State Exercise -SST-, or even continuous exercise -CT-)
The first type of exercise you tend to do is usually a moderate cardio workout at a fast or steady pace,
It is done at a moderate intensity level (around 5-7 on a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of effort).
When doing this cardio workout, you maintain a steady pace for an extended period of time, usually around 20-60 minutes.
This form of exercise is not fatiguing and therefore ideal for those who need to get back in shape.
Since it acts less intensely on the body and on the central nervous system, and which requires less recovery time, it is also excellent for those who do more intense strength exercise sessions per week.
You can do cardio workouts at moderate intensity 4-6 days a week.
High Intensity Interval Exercise (HIIT) and Sprint Speed Exercise
HIIT – Interval cardio exercise with high intensity, involves performing intense physical exercises (with an effort level 7 or 8 on a scale of 1 to 10) for “short” periods of time (a few minutes), exercises intersperse them with rest periods (always a few minutes).
Sprint – We talk about sprint exercise when only 20-30 seconds are practiced but with maximum effort levels (9 or 10 on a scale of 1 to 10).
With this type of exercise, the exact determination of the duration of the rest intervals must be made in such a way as to allow a good recovery before moving on to the subsequent repetition of the exercise.
High-intensity workouts and sprint exercise usually last only about 20 minutes, as they are not sustainable for long periods of time due to their intensity.
Interval cardio workouts and sprint workouts, in most cases are done at most three times a week.
In fact, unlike cardio workouts at lower intensity in steady state, for recovery they need more rest time after each workout.
Circuit exercise (AC) or (CT)
Circuit exercise (AC) or circuit exercise (CT) consists of exercise for muscle strength that is performed through a series of repeated exercises without pauses, or with short breaks.
It therefore consists of an “exercise circuit” that includes several “exercise stations”.
Each of these “stations” is done by repeating physical exercises at speed, intensity or with pre-established durations based on the athletic goals pursued.
The entire circuit must be repeated as many times as necessary to reach the pre-established exercise workload.
Who should do cardiovascular workouts?
By including cardio workouts in your exercise routine, each of us can benefit.
The Elderly (75+)
Cardiovascular exercise can benefit the elderly …
- To maintain or improve their cardiac health,
- To maintain mobility (this will therefore make it easier to carry out daily activities, improving the quality of life),
- To counteract the weight gain that occurs due to aging.
The Adults (20-74)
Cardiovascular exercise can serve adults …
- To keep the weight under control,
- To improve their fitness level
In teenagers this workout can …
- Reduce the risk of increased body fat you may have during this period, if they adopt an overly sedentary lifestyle,
- Serve to improve their self-esteem.
Even children will benefit from cardio exercise probably for life, because …
- Serves to adopt healthy habits of an active lifestyle,
- Thus also benefiting the health of the heart,
- Also contributing to the improvement of the ongoing growth process.
Since running and playing is part of their normal lifestyle, most children can do “unplanned” cardio workouts.
So the important thing – at this point – is simply to encourage their physical activity, in any form.
The 5 basic exercises of a cardio workout
Cardio stands for cardiovascular and such a workout includes exercises that burn fat and at the same time help us lose the extra pounds in the gym. So fashionable at the moment, it includes several specific exercises. What is cardio training and what is it? We will explain it to you.
It is always advisable to be followed by an instructor, but for a first approach to cardio training you can perform some simple exercises at home. Here are the five most important ones.
Skip to high knees
The skip with high knees is nothing more than a run on the spot where the knees point to rise as high as possible. The back should always remain straight and never curved.
Jumping jacks are jumps during which the legs and arms spread outwards. The arms must always go from the thighs to the top of the head. This is a complete exercise since it involves all the muscles of the body. It is good to start at moderate speed with a low number of repetitions, and then increase it as you go along with your workouts.
To do this, a simple step will suffice. The exercise consists of going up and down the step maintaining a constant rhythm and a speed that is not too low. This type of training will be good for the heart, but also for the buttocks and thighs.
The mountain climber, also known as a climber, is a somewhat more complex exercise. The hands will be placed on the ground sideways at head height, at this point, the knees will be brought alternately to the chest.
Because the abdominal work and the buttocks will have to be contracted. Since this is an intense exercise, it is advisable to start with a few repetitions and then increase them as you become more familiar with this type of movement.
Among the cardio fat burning exercises and among the main weight loss exercises in GAG training, this is certainly one of the most effective. It can be performed with a weight or a balance or even a free body. It consists of squatting by bending the knees and taking care that they never exceed the tip of the toes.
The back should be kept straight and the buttocks out. This will help to firm the thighs and buttocks. Cardio training is the most complete as it helps lose weight and tone every part of the body.